Chris White commentary: What we know already about 2011 Bi-City high school football

cwhite@ledger-enquirer.comSeptember 8, 2011 

Two weeks into the high school football season and some pictures are already getting clearer.

A few teams have fallen into their old habits, whether good or bad. Some others appear to be making gains, however short-lived they have been.

And while there is still a lot to be decided -- that is why they play the game, as the tired saying goes -- there are a few things we know about the Bi-City’s high school football teams already.

1. Central-Phenix City quarterback Jonathan Wallace is a running machine

I first realized Wallace may have found ways to improve from last year’s school-record rushing performance when he covered more than half the field and scored a touchdown on the first two plays of a scrimmage game against Carver.

I was pretty certain I was right in saying that after he ran for four touchdowns Friday in No. 10 Central’s 34-7 victory against Opelika.

Wallace now has six rushing touchdowns, putting him on track to finish the regular season with 30 -- 11 more than his single-season school record 19 scored in 2010. And with Central 2-0 overall and 1-0 in AHSAA Class 6A Region 3 play, the Red Devils have all the potential in the world this season.

Maybe Wallace’s toughest critic is Central coach and former Alabama football great Woodrow Lowe, but he seems to have won him over, too.

“He’s a leader and he is truly resilient,” Lowe said of Wallace after Friday’s game.

2. Harris County is capable of putting up points this year

A year ago, Harris County was struggling to win close games and relying on its defense to make up for its 14 points per game average.

That defense has been strong again, allowing a combined 30 points through two games, and the offensive production has come a long way as the Tigers have broken the 30-point mark in both games, something it failed to do even once in 2010.

Harris County linebacker Jalliane Coverson credited that to the team’s improved offensive and defensive lines.

“I believe the linemen are helping out more this year,” Coverson. “We have more leaders on the offensive and defensive line who play both ways, and I think that’s why.”

The Tigers are now 2-0 for the first time since 1999.

3. Columbus’ offense is on to something

At 1-1 overall and without a region game behind it, the season is too young to speculate on how Columbus will finish the season.

But after two games, the Blue Devils have established they are capable of doing some damage with their newly installed spread offense. Columbus scored 23 points in a loss to Manchester and defeated Jordan 39-22 on Friday.

That’s a hefty improvement from 2010, when the Blue Devils only scored more than 10 points three times and were shut out twice.

4. Shaw’s defense is making a stand

At times last year, Shaw’s defense had trouble holding down its more explosive opponents.

Yet the Raiders held Central and Wallace, who I would argue is the area’s most dangerous offensive threat, to three touchdowns in the season-opening 20-6 loss and allowed only a single touchdown a week later in a 20-7 victory against Smiths Station, a team that posted 41 points against the Raiders in 2010.

Shaw made some moves in the offseason, most notably bringing first-team All-Bi-City center Terrance Tarver over to the defensive line and putting defensive lineman Olawale Dada in at linebacker, and some of the schemes were simplified to allow athletes to do more reacting and less fretting.

“We expected our defense to be better this year, and so far it is,” Shaw coach Jamie Fox said. “We have some veteran guys over there who have picked up our schemes and done a great job.”

5. We know the real Carver hey

No. 4 Carver is a strange beast.

It looked a lot like its old self in a season-opening romp against Spencer, but failed to put all the pieces together in Friday’s 35-7 loss to No. 1 Buford.

So where does Carver go from here? The Tigers play Hardaway today at A.J. McClung Memorial Stadium and the following week face LaGrange in the Georgia Dome. Will we see two more Carver teams show up in those games?

Maybe more than any other Bi-City team, Carver is still evolving, and because of that there may not be a team in better position to improve dramatically as the season goes on.

Carver has a mix of experienced backups now in starting positions, and so its biggest hurdle will be in getting each of those athletes executing consistently on the level coach Dell McGee expects of his first-stringers.

The upcoming non-region tests against Hardaway and LaGrange will bring to light some of Carver’s abilities and shortcomings, but how will the team respond? Will it be able to mend those issues as they arise?

All we know about Carver is that we don’t yet know much about Carver.

Chris White, 706-571-8571; follow Chris online at and at

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